Jean-Eric Vergne has taken victory in the inaugural Santiago ePrix after a thrilling battle with team-mate Andre Lotterer.
The pair ran nose to tail, side by side, and occasionally with Lotterer’s front wing mounted on the back of Vergne’s car in the closing stages of the race. With no radio for the team to give any instructions, the pair battled for position to the chequered flag, but Vergne managed to keep Lotterer behind him to take his second Formula E victory.
Lotterer had started third after a crash in the Superpole shoot out and spent most of the first stint trying to find a way past Jaguar’s Nelson Piquet. The move came just before the mid-race pit stop as Piquet appeared to lose pace and Lotterer was able to keep the position through the pits.
With Sebastien Buemi on Piquet’s tail after the pit stops, Lotterer was able to close the gap to his team-mate and, though he couldn’t find a way past Vergne, he helped make history as the 1-2 was the first time in FE’s history a team has locked out the top two positions.
Behind the Techeetahs, Buemi was leading a three-way fight for third in the closing stages of the race.
Piquet briefly claimed the final podium position before outbreaking himself and dropping down the order. Felix Rosenqvist and Sam Bird were soon on Buemi’s tail after both drivers were forced to pick their way up through the field – Rosenqvist after a poor qualifying and Bird after he lost time having stayed out an extra lap in the first stint.
The trio ran nose to tail for a number of laps, but energy management restricted any attempts to pass and Buemi came home third, ahead of Rosenqvist, Bird, and Piquet.
That means Vergne now leads the championship, with Rosenqvist five points behind him in second and Bird in third.
At the other end of the order, it was another disastrous weekend for Audi. Daniel Abt was knocked out of the race early on, having made contact with Nick Heidfeld in the opening lap chaos. He came into the pits after just eight laps and, though he did head out in the second car, he soon returned to retire from the race.
Di Grassi, who started 13th, enjoyed a strong first stint, picking his way up through the order with expert precision. He was running at the sharp end of the field before pitting for his second car. Unfortunately, his race ended there as his car came to a stop at pit exit. Another retirement means Di Grassi heads to the fifth race of the season without taking a single point.
Also in trouble on the opening lap were Jose Maria Lopez, Maro Engel, and Heidfeld.
Lopez enjoyed a fantastic start to overtake three cars in the first handful of corners, but he ran into a wall as he tried to find a way past former team-mate Bird.
Engel was also in the wall, having had no where to go when the broken Mahindra of Nick Heidfeld pulled up alongside him.
Both drivers were unable to get going again, bringing out the safety car.
Heidfeld pitted after his contact with Abt. Like Abt he headed back out in his second car but couldn’t complete the race.
Mitch Evans, who served a 10 second penalty due to an inverter change and started at the back of the grid, finished seventh, ahead of Jerome d’Ambrosio, Antonio Felix Da Costa, and Nico Prost.